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Former 'No Child Left Behind' advocate speaks in Baton Rouge against the policy

Friday, March 15, 2013 - 6:00am

Teachers, parents, and educators were in the crowd to hear Diane Ravitch speak Thursday.

She and Chas Roemer from BESE talked about what's happening in Louisiana and where education is headed.

"Louisiana's on the wrong track," stated Ravitch.

Ravitch used to be a staunch conservative, and her work framed the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which pushed standardized tests as a measure of both students and teachers. But when she saw the results of her ideas, she was dismayed.

"The tests just aren't that good - the accountability turns out to mean punishment, and no one ever became a better student, better teacher or better principal because they were punished."

She is currently a professor and author, and says she's very familiar with Louisiana's public education system. She thinks the state is only doing more damage to our schools.

"The best systems do not have charters; they do not have vouchers; they create a strong public school system."

She says the biggest problem we face isn't policy - it's poverty.

"The most reliable predictor of low test scores is poverty, and Louisiana is a very poor state."

She is also a critic of the state's attempt to overhaul the teacher tenure system. She says the most successful school districts are the ones that have experienced, well-trained, highly-paid teachers.

"We expect them to do the hardest work in society and we don't pay them all that much, so the least we can do is give them the admiration and respect they deserve."
   

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